And the function can technically be added via a simple software update.
Ford has filed a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for what is essentially an unruly burnout mode for electric vehicles. Discovered by CarBuzz, the much more dignified language used in the patent describes an "electric vehicle performance mode with intentional wheel spin for tire heating," ultimately leading to "heating or smoking of the tires to improve traction and provide a visual display of power." That's basically line-lock, but for EVs rather than RWD Ford Mustangs.
Although this sort of hooliganism isn't typically associated with zero-emission vehicles, Ford did previously reveal the Mustang Mach-E 1400 Prototype, which can perform a four-wheel burnout, courtesy of its seven motors and combined 1,400 horsepower. More tellingly, the patent images used are clearly sketches of a Mustang-Mach E, so perhaps this crossover will be the first recipient of the tech.
The patent goes into much more detail, with the mode's ability to brake the front wheels while applying torque to the second axle. However, unlike most muscle cars' line lock abilities, this system can be reversed, with a braking function applied at the back and the front axle receiving torque.
"A sequential maneuver that spins tires of the first axle followed by tires of the second axle may be performed by specified manipulation of the brake pedal and accelerator pedal," says a section of the patent.
This new mode effectively overrides the usual tendency for all-wheel-drive cars to distribute torque more evenly to help limit wheel spin and assist the driver in maintaining control when the traction control is switched off. There's no fun in that, of course, and Ford specifically references burnouts or visual exhibitions for closed courses or race tracks to justify the new mode.
Another advantage of spinning the tires more freely, thereby heating them, is better acceleration times.
The patent also specifies that this new burnout mode - which does not yet appear to have an official name - is "achievable with existing hardware in various vehicles via a software or programming update."
In theory, that means the function could be added to the powerful Ford Mustang Mach-E GT relatively easily. With 480 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque, the GT sure has the grunt to light up its tires, and all the more so with a dedicated mode to make it happen. However, even single-motor EVs could potentially be compatible with the new burnout mode.
While some may brand this new feature as a gimmick that can only occasionally be exploited in the right environment, it's another example of automakers trying to bridge the gap between gas-powered cars and EVs, specifically regarding high-performance models where the perception is that a certain amount of engagement is lost when driving an EV. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 N is also said to come with a special drift mode, for instance.
It's not only the drifting antics of ICE cars that are being replicated in the EV world. Dodge has come up with a Fratzonic exhaust for its next-gen EVs that - for better or worse - mildly emulates a Hemi V8's soundtrack, and Toyota is even looking into a manual gearbox for EVs that creates the sensation of a regular gearbox using software.
Whether you believe these attempts to replicate the ICE car experience in an EV are sensible or not, we won't judge any of these inventions until we experience them for ourselves. Hopefully, that includes Ford's new EV burnout mode, which isn't yet confirmed for production.
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